Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: March 2008

Click for a full report.

Imbush Peach

An interview with Naomi Wolf about the 10 steps from democracy to dictatorship!

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Pelosi, Obama, Clinton Mix It Up or Let’s Mix It Up In China and Denver?

Pelosi, Obama, Clinton Mix It Up or Let’s

Mix It Up In China and Denver?

Bush will go to the Olympics; Pelosi speaks out against the occupation of Tibet
The American president confirms his presence at the Games - “chance for American athletes” – while the House Speaker meets the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala and asks the international community to condemn Chinese actions in Tibet.

Lhasa (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Despite the massacre unfolding in Tibet, President George W. Bush will be present at the Beijing Olympic Games. Spokesperson for the United States leader, Dana Perino announced the decision explaining that: “our position on the Olympics is no a political one, it is a chance for American athletes to compete at the highest level”.

At the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi travelled to Dharamsala, to meet the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan community in exile. Accompanied by a delegation, Pelosi invited the international community to “denounce China’s presence in Tibet”.

Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of hundreds, some with signs saying "Long Live America-Tibet Friendship”, the Democrat politician said: “If freedom loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China and the Chinese in Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak out on human rights”.

Instead, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held telephone talks with her Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, in which she urged Beijing to show “restraint”. Rice, according to the spokesman for the State Department, Sean McCormack “clearly and directly reaffirmed our position to the Foreign Minister. No one wants violence”.

In the meantime, the situation in Tibet and in the bordering Chinese provinces is not improving. Authorities in Gansu and Sichuan have imposed strict controls of areas where there are Buddhist monasteries, while in Lhasa – according to those few eye-witness accounts that have escaped Beijing’s censorship- repression of monks involved in the protests continue amid increased Chinese military presence. See all stories on this topic

China’s charges make no sense: Pelosi
Hindu - Chennai,India
Dharamsala: Calling the Chinese action in Tibet a “challenge to the world’s conscience,” Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi ...

Speaker Pelosi Calls for Investigations into Developments in Tibet ...
Save Tibet - Washington,DC,USA
US Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for an independent outside investigation into China's allegation about the Dalai Lama's involvement in the Tibetan ...

Nancy Pelosi is no ordinary superdelegate. Even dubbing her a super-duper delegate might not do her justice. Ms. Pelosi is in a class by herself when it comes to the nominating whirl since, as speaker of the House, she will preside over the Democratic National Convention as chairwoman.

So when the gavel comes down in Denver on or about Aug. 27 to finally and formally award the presidential nomination to either Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama, it most likely will be Ms. Pelosi wielding it.

Given her role at the convention, her position as the nation’s highest ranking Democratic elected official, her long experience in the rough-and-tumble of party politics and her objective of padding her own House majority, it is no wonder that anything and everything she says about the state of the nominating contest is sifted for meaning.

In recent days, she was viewed as putting her thumb on the scale for Mr. Obama with an observation that it would be dangerous for the party if superdelegates such as herself took the nomination away from the candidate who had won the most primary delegates — a position that would seem to favor Mr. Obama at this stage of the game.

The comment in an interview with ABC News was not that much different from what she had said previously — even when Mrs. Clinton was ahead in delegates. But in the superheated news environment surrounding the nomination battle, virtually any declarative statement takes on added significance, and this was one of those moments.

In the ensuing hubbub, one question frequently pondered on Capitol Hill rose to the surface: Just whose side is Nancy Pelosi on?

Like Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, Ms. Pelosi has staked a claim to pure neutrality in the race, saying she has an added responsibility given her need to preside fairly over the convention. And there is at least some chance that she, Mr. Reid, party chairman Howard Dean and a few other Democratic elders might have to intervene if the nomination fight threatens to tear the party asunder.

Some see circumstantial evidence that she might privately favor Mr. Obama. Representatives Anna Eshoo and George Miller of California, two of her closest Congressional friends, are Obama backers. Ms. Pelosi has spoken excitedly about the fervor shown by new voters drawn to the race — a development more often attributed to Mr. Obama than Mrs. Clinton.

And there was her serious disagreement in the 1990s with President Bill Clinton over his pursuit of a free-trade agreement with China. Ms. Pelosi viewed Mr. Clinton as far too eager to overlook China’s human rights abuses in seeking a trade deal and she once accused him of whitewashing China’s record. China is an intensely personal issue for Ms. Pelosi and she is not likely to put aside that memory.

But there are also signs of support for Mrs. Clinton in the Pelosi camp. More former Pelosi aides work for Mrs. Clinton than for Mr. Obama.

Plus, some of her top House chairmen and chairwomen are solidly in the Clinton camp. Representative Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania, the speaker’s personal choice for majority leader, was the latest to endorse Mrs. Clinton this week. And as the first female speaker and a woman who battled sexism during her own career, Ms. Pelosi is no stranger to the symbolic power of breaking political glass ceilings.

While Ms. Pelosi certainly wants a Democrat in the White House, she is first and foremost determined to make sure the top of the ticket does not harm her House contenders, one of the reasons she has been urging the two White House candidates to dial it down a bit when it comes to the tenor of the campaign.

“My responsibility is to elect a Democratic Congress, to grow and strengthen the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, to have a confident, long-term majority in the Congress,” she told reporters recently.

So for now Ms. Pelosi remains publicly neutral. She may never have to tip her hand if the nomination fight gets resolved.

Even if she does not take sides, Ms. Pelosi will no doubt weigh in as necessary to try to keep the party on track. But the speaker, who has exhibited some real toughness so far in her tenure, would probably be willing to make a pick if she believed it was necessary.

After all, she is not about to let a little thing like a historic White House race threaten her plans for an extended House majority.

Pelosi Is A Spineless Dope
By Vinny
Nancy Pelosi, you, dear woman, are a hypocrite. For years you’ve talked about what you’d like to happen to China and when you can hit them where it hurts the most, their pockets, you decide that it isn’ta good idea

Pelosi Responds to Clinton Donors' Threat
Washington Post - United States
Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged Friday to "do whatever it takes to protect" Democratic House candidates from falling ...

Pelosi Responds to Clinton Donors' Threat

Indirectly responding to a threat made by top fundraisers for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged Friday to "do whatever it takes to protect" Democratic House candidates from falling victim to the exceedingly nasty and protracted Democratic presidential primary.

"We can't allow the tension and pressures of a spirited Presidential contest to spill over and harm hard-working Democratic candidates running to strengthen our Democratic majority in the House," Pelosi wrote in an e-mail sent to a vast list of Democratic donors and supporters. "I will do whatever it takes to protect our candidates and make sure their campaigns to drive change forward don't skip a beat."

And Pelosi urged potential donors to make a contribution to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee before the March 31st deadline for the current fundraising quarter.

Her appeal comes two days after a group of 20 Clinton backers sent a letter to Pelosi chastising her public position that superdelegates should support the will of the people -- in other words, vote for the candidate with the most pledged delegates.

The Clinton donors also implicitly raised the possibility that they would withhold donations to the DCCC unless Pelosi changes her tune on superdelegates.

"We have been strong supporters of the DCCC," the group wrote in its letter to Pelosi. "We therefore urge you to clarify your position on super-delegates and reflect in your comments a more open view to the optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the National Convention in August."

In her e-mail, marked as "sent wirelessly via Blackberry," Pelosi told donors it's important for them to give to the DCCC so that whoever wins the Democratic nomination -- Clinton or Barack Obama -- will have a "strong Democratic majority in the House to work with as we undo the damage from President Bush's failed economic policies."

Not only is Pelosi not backing off her belief that superdelegates should vote with the will of the voters, she's clearly out to ensure that House Democrats don't get burned by a presidential primary that seems to be turning nastier and more vindictive with each passing day.

"We can't allow the tension and pressures of a spirited Presidential contest to spill over and harm hard-working Democratic candidates running to strengthen our Democratic majority in the House," Pelosi said.

By Mary Ann Akers | March 28, 2008; 4:00 PM ET

Pelosi puts pretty face on ugly fight
San Jose Mercury News, USA - 2 hours ago
SAN JOSE -- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told a cheering crowd of Democrats on Friday that no matter who wins the party's presidential nomination, ...

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats gathered in San Jose on Friday evening that they must not allow the competitive presidential primary to sidetrack them from their goal of taking back the White House in November.

"We must remember at the end of the day our target, our eye, must be on the prize in November," Pelosi said in a short speech at the state Democratic convention.

"Let's channel all that energy, to draw more people into the political process. We can't just draw them in, we must keep them in and we must unite after this primary is over, and I hope that is before too long," she told the several hundred convention delegates at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

The audience included several uncommitted superdelegates, who are being heavily wooed at the state convention by supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Pelosi is an uncommitted superdelegate and has said she will remain neutral because she also serves as chair of the Democratic National Convention. But she has tried to play referee between Clinton and Obama, suggesting they should not sully each other with charges that will benefit presumptive GOP nominee John McCain.

In her Friday night comments, the San Francisco Democrat reminded the audience that McCain had campaigned in 2005 with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on behalf of several ballot initiatives that the voters rejected. Those initiatives sought to change teacher pay, reform the state's budget process and institute mandatory parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion.

"They went hand in hand against working families in California and they lost," Pelosi said. "We defeated him once; we'll defeat him again."

Pelosi delivered her speech at the end of a particularly tense week during which she was targeted by a group of 21 influential Clinton fundraisers, including Susie Tompkins Buell of San Francisco and Amy Rao of Palo Alto. They criticized Pelosi's comments on a Sunday television talk show in which she suggested Democratic superdelegates should support the candidate with the most pledged delegates at the end of primary voting.

Pelosi warned during an interview on ABC on Sunday, "If the votes of the superdelegates overturn what's happened in the elections, it would be harmful to the Democratic Party."

Friday, in short comments after her speech, she predicted a nominee will be chosen "right after the public has voted."

The Clinton fundraisers were outraged after her ABC comments, because Obama is expected to finish the primary season with a lead in pledged delegates. However, he will not have the 2,024 delegates needed to win the nomination without the support of superdelegates.

The fundraisers, who noted they were also heavy contributors to congressional campaigns, urged Pelosi in a letter to "reflect in your comments a more open view to the optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the national convention in August."

Asked about the letter as she signed autographs after her speech, Pelosi dismissed it. "It's not important," she said. "I won't be swayed by that stuff."

Jewish Clinton backers warn Pelosi on meddling
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, NY - 18 hours ago
Twelve of the 20 Clinton backers who warned Nancy Pelosi to keep out of the Democratic presidential primaries are Jewish. The 20 signatories to the letter ...

This has been a bad week for Clinton's financial backers. In addition to the Richardson betrayal, they also feel that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has turned on them. Despite their years of supporting the party, they have been unable to use their leverage to move Pelosi away from what they see as her public support for Obama. Though Pelosi says she is neutral, she has said that the superdelegates should follow the will of the pledged delegates. Since Obama holds an insurmountable lead among the pledged delegates, this is just a long way for her to say, "Elect Barack." Clinton fundraisers wrote to Pelosi asking that she retract her remarks and support the party rules that allow superdelegates to vote their conscience. Furious at the letter, she refused to.

The Election and Progressive Politics.
By Plain(s)feminist(junecleaversdoppelganger)
Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership have been very clear since election nite/morning 06: that's off the table, right along with impeaching Bush or Cheney, right along with Hillary Clinton's earlier swagger about getting rid of ...

Senator urges Clinton to drop out
Los Angeles Times, CA - 4 hours ago
Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, gestures prior to a committee hearing in Washington, DC, Jan. 30, 2008. ...

Clinton: Get Some Popcorn and Settle In
Washington Post, United States - 8 hours ago
By Perry Bacon Jr. HAMMOND, Ind.--Asked about Sen. Barack Obama's remark today that the Democratic primary contest was like a good movie that had gone on ...

The Daily Five: Just Super
Atlantic Online - 14 hours ago
1. Sen. Pat Leahy: "There is no way that Sen. Clinton is going to win enough delegates" and so should quit....he later walks back his comment....but says ...

Obama or Clinton? Superdelegate Braley won’t say
Quad City Times, IA - 6 hours ago
By Dan Gearino | Saturday, March 29, 2008 | 17 comment(s) US Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, says he has no timetable on when he plans to endorse a candidate for ...

Braley: ‘Let the system play out’
Marshalltown Times Republican, IA - 7 hours ago
By MIKE GLOVER, AP JOHNSTON — Democrats should not short-circuit the party’s nominating process despite growing worries that the lengthy contest between ...

Braley says don't short-circuit nominating process
KPTM-TV, NE - 17 hours ago
AP - March 28, 2008 2:14 PM ET JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - US Representative Bruce Braley isn't in a hurry to choose who he'll support for the Democratic ...

Braley: let Clinton/Obama clash last 'til convention
Radio Iowa, IA - 18 hours ago
By O.Kay Henderson Congressman Bruce Braley of Waterloo says Democratic Party leaders should let the nomination fight between Hillary Clinton and Barack ...

Braley discounts notion of Gore as compromise nominee, IA - 18 hours ago
By WILLIAM PETROSKI • REGISTER STAFF WRITER • March 28, 2008 US Rep. Bruce Braley of Iowa, who will be a superdelegate at his national party’s convention in ...

Freedom of speech gets quite a workout
Asbury Park Press - Asbury Park,NJ,USA
Not to be outdone, the anti-Bush crowd had its message for the president — one sign said, "Invest in clean energy, not war in Iraq." Another said, "Impeach ...

With President in New Jersey, Democrats rail against Bush's policies

PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: Supporters, foes gather in advance of Bush visit

More BuShit and DC Economic Toxic Trash!

Today the US Government dumped some more toxic diversionary smoke screen trash on America.

What has been proposed is a worthless compilation of 218 pages pre-crisis working paper dealing with consolidation of regulatory agencies, having nothing to do with increased regulation and more stringent oversight. It is a jump ball in a game that will be played by the next Congress, the next administration, and even if it were adopted immediately it would do nothing to solve this nation’s current crisis. It would simply consolidate power under the watchful eyes of fewer eyes….BIG EYES!

It was an attempt to serve up some public economic Valium, create some confidence that someone “important” was doing something “significant” to help the average American facing foreclosure , drowning in credit card debt, depositing their first born at the gas pump as payment, torn between buying frozen meals and paying for medications. Hell when are we going to get real about solving real problems with real solutions instead of attempting to stop arterial hemorrhaging with Johnson’s Band-Aids, smoke and mirrors, posturing and pretense?

Treasury spells out regulatory overhaul plan

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson revealed sweeping plans on Monday for streamlining a hodgepodge of regulations that are blamed for allowing the U.S. mortgage crisis to balloon into a full-blown economic threat.

The proposals, in the form of a 218-page "blueprint" that was started before markets unraveled in August, offer no quick fix for the credit contraction that threatens to tip the U.S. economy into recession.

Under the proposals, the current patchwork of as many as seven federal regulators would be consolidated under three agencies: the U.S. Federal Reserve, a newly created financial regulator and a third agency for consumer protection and business practices.

Paulson acknowledged that most of the proposals would not be enacted until after the current troubles had passed, perhaps long after President George W. Bush leaves office in January.

The regulatory blueprint proposes eventually vesting new powers in the Federal Reserve as a "market stability regulator" -- effectively formalizing a role the central bank already has adopted recently by expanding the list of financial firms which can borrow directly.

It would give the Fed authority to demand that all financial system participants supply it with full information on their activities and grant the Fed a right to collaborate with other regulators in setting rules for their behavior.

The Bush administration has faced political pressure from critics who blame lax regulatory oversight for the mortgage mess. Paulson, a 30-year Wall Street veteran, stressed that regulation must be light enough to keep markets innovative, and said those who tried to label the blueprint as advocating more or less regulation were "oversimplifying."

"I am not suggesting that more regulation is the answer, or even that more effective regulation can prevent the periods of financial market stress that seem to occur every five to 10 years," he said.

A Nervous Wall St. Seems Unsure What's Next

Treasury Secretary Paulson urges more power for Federal Reserve

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer 1 hour, 4 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration Monday proposed the most far-ranging overhaul of the financial regulatory system since the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression.

The plan would change how the government regulates thousands of businesses from the nation's biggest banks and investment houses down to the local insurance agent and mortgage broker.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson unveiled the 218-page plan in a speech in Treasury's ornate Cash Room, declaring, "A strong financial system is vitally important — not for Wall Street, not for bankers, but for working Americans."

The administration's plan drew criticism, however, from Democrats who said it did not go far enough to deal with abuses in mortgage lending and securities trading that were exposed by the current credit crisis. Some state officials criticized what they saw as unwanted federal intrusion on their turf.

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin blasted Paulson's approach as "a disastrous backward step that would put the investor in jeopardy" because it would pre-empt state regulation of securities and insurance.

The administration said that it planned to work with Congress to have constructive conversations, but officials would not predict when any aspects of the proposal could be enacted into law.

Asked if Bush's goal was to get the overhaul approved before he leaves office, presidential press secretary Dana Perino told reporters aboard Air Force One, "We'll have to see. It is a big attempt."

The plan, which would require congressional approval for its biggest changes, seeks to trim a hodge-podge collection of overlapping jurisdictions that date back to the Civil War.

It would give the Federal Reserve more power to protect the stability of the entire financial system while merging day-to-day bank supervision into one agency, down from five at present.

It also would create one super agency in charge of business conduct and consumer protection, performing many of the functions of the current Securities and Exchange Commission.

It would propose eliminating the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, merging their functions into other agencies.

It would ask Congress to establish a federal Mortgage Origination Commission to set recommended minimum licensing standards for mortgage brokers, many of whom now operate outside of federal regulation, and it would also take a first step toward federal regulation of the insurance industry by asking Congress to establish an Office of Insurance Oversight inside the Treasury Department.

Paulson acknowledged in his remarks that most of the changes will not occur until after a lengthy debate in Congress, leaving it to the next administration to deal with the biggest changes proposed by the report. He also said the Bush administration's focus would remain on getting through the current severe credit crisis, which has roiled financial markets since last August.

Paulson rejected Democratic charges that it was lax regulation of mortgage brokers and the financial industry that had led to the current problems.

"I do not believe it is fair or accurate to blame our regulatory structure for the current market turmoil," he said. "I am not suggesting that more regulation is the answer or even that more effective regulation can prevent the periods of financial market stress that seem to occur every five to 10 years."

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said he strongly disagreed with Paulson. "The unregulated corners of our economy did much to contribute to the meltdown in our housing market and the accompanying spillover to our financial markets," Schumer said in a statement. "The administration's 'deregulation-above-all-else' attitude helped cause the problems we now face."

Banking groups raised strong objections to the plan while other groups expressed approval.

"Dismantling the thrift charter and crippling state banking charters will weaken banking in America," said Edward Yingling, president of the American Bankers Association.

Tim Ryan, head of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, which represents more than 650 securities firms, banks and asset managers, praised the overhaul proposal and said there was widespread agreement on the need for modernization in an era "where billions of dollars race across the globe with the click of a mouse."

In Congress, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, who is working on his own regulatory revamp, called Paulson's proposal a "constructive step forward" but said it wouldn't give the Federal Reserve enough authority to carry out its expanded job to police the stability of the entire financial system.

Many Democrats said that Congress' first priority should be to deal with the current mortgage crisis that is threatening millions of Americans with the loss of their homes and that an extensive debate on a regulatory overhaul should not occur until a new president is in office next year.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., told reporters that he viewed the administration's plan as a "wild pitch — it's not even close to the strike zone" of what is needed to help the country get through the current mortgage crisis. He said the real problem was not the need for new regulations but "the failure of this administration to utilize the tools they've been given over the years to deal with the very practices that caused this problem."

The proposed overhaul would be the most extensive since the current regulatory system was created in response to the 1929 stock market crash and the Great Depression.

It comes at a time when the financial system faces its most severe credit crisis in two decades, one that has resulted in billions of dollars of losses for big banks and investment houses and the near-collapse of Bear Stearns, the country's fifth-largest investment bank.

The rising tide of bad debt has made it harder for consumers and businesses to get credit, further weighing on an economy struggling with a prolonged housing slump and soaring energy prices. Many economists believe the country is already in a recession.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Democratic chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Monday called the Treasury Department's plan to overhaul financial regulation "a wild pitch ... It's not even close to the strike zone."

Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut said he welcomed the plan put forward by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson but questioned its relevance in addressing the immediate housing market crisis threatening to tip the economy into recession.

"To talk about overhauling the regulatory system is a wonderful idea. But frankly it doesn't relate to the issues we're grappling with," Dodd told reporters on a conference call. "I would call this a wild pitch," he said. "It's not even close to the strike zone."

Could the Bush Recession Turn Into the Bush Depression?

I don't know anyone who thinks we're not in a recession and I don't know anyone who says we're on the brink of a Depression. Most people have no reason to think we won't have a Depression; they just think "it can't happen here" or "now" or "to me." It shouldn't either. Nor should have George Bush. The most unlikely of morons to assume the presidency he's done everything that anyone could do to bring on a financial calamity. This morning's Paul Krugman column, Partying Like It's 1929, gets right to the point: right wing ideology is toxic. The "banking crisis of the 1930s showed that unregulated, unsupervised financial markets can all too easily suffer catastrophic failure." Krugman claims the hard-learned lessons were "forgotten" as the decades passed. I'm less generous. (MORE HERE)

A plan to be unveiled Monday would give the Fed new power and fold oversight authority now shared by many agencies into three.

By Maura Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer March 29, 2008

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is proposing a sweeping overhaul of the nation's financial regulatory system, combining what is now an alphabet soup of government agencies into three streamlined regulators.

The proposal is the result of a year of study by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and has the support of the president, according to Treasury officials who spoke on condition of anonymity Friday.

Under the administration's plan, which will be released in detail Monday, the Federal Reserve would get expanded power to promote stability in financial markets.

The Securities and Exchange Commission and a handful of other federal agencies -- all formed in the Great Depression or earlier -- would be restructured and have their responsibilities redefined.

Oversight of the mortgage industry would be stepped up, and states could lose some of their authority to regulate banks.

The aim of the realignment is to better oversee the financial markets and the banking system as they have evolved since the 1930s -- and avoid the kind of upheaval seen in recent months.

An outline of the proposal, first reported by the New York Times late Friday and confirmed by Treasury officials, includes short-, intermediate- and long-term changes in the country's regulatory structure.

Paulson's review began before the sub-prime mortgage crisis and subsequent financial market turmoil, but it was given new import by the near-collapse of investment house Bear Stearns Cos. and the Federal Reserve's decision two weeks ago to temporarily extend its lending to include investment firms as well as banks.

Many if not most of the changes would need congressional approval, which is far from certain. Both houses of Congress are controlled by Democrats, and this is a presidential election year, so any changes could take years.

Still, at least one Democratic leader expressed support for the administration's goals, if not necessarily its specific proposals.

"In broad outlines, we agree with large parts of Secretary Paulson's plan," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), a member of the Senate leadership who is also chairman of Congress' Joint Economic Committee. "He is on the money when he calls for a more unified regulatory structure, although we would prefer a single regulator to the three he proposes."

Schumer also complained that the administration proposal did not appear to address the full spectrum of complex new financial securities, including so-called collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, which repackage assets such as mortgages for sale to investors.

Losses on such securities have cost Wall Street firms billions of dollars and made them and other institutions reluctant to lend money. That in turn has fueled the credit crunch that is squeezing the economy.

"Very complex financial instruments have evolved in recent years, like CDOs and credit-default swaps, which pose potential problems in terms of systemic risk," Schumer said. "The Treasury Department should address these issues as well."

In the short term, Paulson's plan proposes:

* Creating a Mortgage Originations Commission that would oversee the home-loan industry, making sure that state-level licensing conformed with a set of new federal minimum standards.

* Consideration of what kind of regulation should be put in place for investment banks that wish to borrow directly from the Federal Reserve.

Paulson has said previously that, although the Fed this month agreed to make loans to securities firms on a temporary, emergency basis, those institutions would have to be more heavily regulated if they wanted permanent access to Fed lending.

In the medium term, Paulson proposes:

* Eliminating the distinction between thrifts and banks under federal law.

* Bringing all state-chartered banks under federal supervision, either through the Federal Reserve or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

* Federal oversight of insurance companies.

* Integrating oversight of the futures and securities markets by combining the Securities and Exchange Commission with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Ultimately, the administration's proposal envisions paring down financial market oversight to just three regulators: a "market stability" regulator based on the Federal Reserve; a "business conduct regulator" based on the current SEC and CFTC; and a "prudential oversight" regulator focused on depository banks, encompassing the current Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision.

A major Wall Street trade group, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Assn., said in reaction to Paulson's blueprint that there was "universal agreement that it is time to modernize and revitalize the current system" of regulation.

"The present regulatory framework was born of Depression-era events and is not well suited for today's environment where billions of dollars race across the globe with the click of a mouse," the group said.

Staff writer Tom Petruno in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Now that the pendulum is swinging back
Marc Lee
2008-03-26 11:54:52

But what if the real problem is that we are deluded, misled by our culture of fawning business journalism, fawning business schools (what might be called the Florida effect) and profoundly faulty securities regulation? ...

US markets seen losing ground to global competitors
John Rutledge
2008-03-26 23:25:16

US capital markets again lost ground against global competitors last year, highlighting the need to streamline regulation and crack down on excessive securities litigation. The United States received only 6.9 percent of the funds raised ...

Women @ ASIL redux
Diane Marie Amann
2008-03-27 10:26:21
"Economic Politics & National Security: A Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States Case Study": Linda Menghetti, Emergency Committee for American Trade. "The New Politics of Regulatory Cooperation: The Case of Food Safety": ...

Financial Crisis: Asset Securitization The Last Tango
2008-03-25 18:14:37
According to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, a US trade group, at the end of 2006 there was a total of some $3.6 trillion worth of Asset Backed Securities in the United States, including of home mortgages, ...

"A Coordinated Effort to Destroy Effective Regulation"
Mark Thoma
2008-03-23 09:43:44

Could so many CDOs have been sold if investors in the United States and overseas weren't reassured by the many bank regulators and the SEC and the monoline insurers and the rating agencies that the securities they were buying were as ...

Senate Finance Committee Will Study the Taxation of Sovereign ...
James Hamilton
2008-03-14 18:43:00

The United States does not exempt a foreign governments income earned from commercial activities in the US market because to do so would give them a competitive advantage over non-governmental market participants. ...

NYT Column- 3/24/08- Taming the Beast
2008-03-25 00:33:54
Times Topics: United States Economy. Now, I dont expect presidential campaigns to have all the answers to our current crisis even financial experts are scrambling to keep up with events. But I do think were entitled to more answers, ...

Word of the Day: Greed
Handy Fuse
2008-03-25 16:53:00
I have no doubt that media audiences nod in agreement with the same alacrity as if it were asserted that the United States is the greatest nation on earth. The argument. First, Rubin posits a "human nature." Then he asserts what the ...

Game Objects Are Unregulated Securities
2008-03-18 23:43:00

My corporations professor, Hugh Friedman taught us how difficult it is to actually spot a security, but gave us the definition contained in the United States Code. "SECURITIES - An investment in an enterprise with the expectation of ...

Aristotle and the Subprime Mess
John Mdaille
2008-03-24 04:25:00
Bear Stearns had $15 Trillion worth (notional value) on their books, an amount exceeding the Gross National Product of the United States. And they were a small player; the overall market is estimated to be in excess of $500 Trillion, ...

So Much for Relying on Valleywag
Jim Harper
2008-03-18 01:51:47

Although 10(b) does not use the term insider trading, a violation of 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 occurs when a corporate insider trades in the securities of his corporation on the basis of material nonpublic information. United States ...

Investment Banks Are Liars And Thieves, According To Investment ...
2008-03-19 14:25:11
Investment banks, after engineering another fraud on the people of the United States, a fraud enabled by the current government of the United States, have finally admitted what anyone with any common sense already knew. ...

Clintons Speech on the Economy: Transcript
2008-03-24 17:08:00
That means families have lost at least $1.9 trillion in housing wealth so far, nearly two-thirds of the size of the entire United States government budget. And today, nearly 9 million families are struggling with mortgages that are ...

US must review regulation of securities firms: Paulson (AFP)
2008-03-26 16:40:26
personal loan refinancing financing lower my bills cash advance debt relief news money rate loan us loans auto loan united states coupons credit card discount credit best deal bills. US Economy.

The end of neoliberalism and the Speculative Onslaught.
2008-03-23 14:36:47
It began what future historians will describe as the final demise of the United States as the dominant global financial power. Liars Loans and NINA: Banks in an orgy of fraud The lessons of the 1998 Russia default and the LTCM systemic ...

Paulson Urges Broader Fed Oversight of Wall Street (Update2) By ...
2008-03-26 18:36:36

across the United States. And those offices were frequently hard-pressed to come up with the manpower and money to investigate and prosecute complex fraud cases. We found the [Justice] Department was challenged by a lack of ...

GAO Report Finds Market Discipline Alone Cannot Manage Hedge Fund ...
James Hamilton
2008-02-26 08:22:00

... regulates 1991 hedge fund advisers that are registered as investment advisers, which include 49 of the largest US hedge fund advisers that account for about one-third of hedge funds assets under management in the United States. ...

Is the US economy heading for a collapse?
2008-03-23 22:27:13
Your actions, not only impact the United States economy, it does have the potency to impact the global economy. That explains, partly, if not wholly, the why to this letter. Yes, I am indeed aware of the sub-prime crisis that has ...

Debt Rattle, March 24 2008
2008-03-24 14:54:00

Mortgage-backed securities have plunged in value in a credit squeeze brought by low-quality mortgages in the United States, leading to a vicious circle of forced sales, falling prices and weakening balance sheets for banks. ...

"The Fed Will Do Whatever It Wants" and RAISE CASH NOW!
2008-03-20 13:42:00
This will have a permanent effect on the standard of living of over 100 million households in the United States and thus our economy. It is unavoidable and as a consequence MUST have a similar impact on the earnings power of United ...

The Great Depression
2008-03-25 14:11:05
Certainly the people had made a mistake in buying over-priced securities, but they had been talked into it by every leading citizen from the President of the United States on down. Every magazine of national circulation, ...

US regulators to blame for credit crisis
2008-03-21 17:05:17
That leaves us with flexibility - a Federal Reserve reversing course and helping to clean up a mess that it helped create. The world would have been better off if the United States had discovered the virtues of government before, ..

Why is the Federal Reserve Board made up entirely of Bush ...
2008-03-20 20:27:09
Fed governors could be given a stake in the performance of the Term Securities Lending Facility! Then again, maybe not. Does the partisan makeup of the Fed matter? I agree with Felix Salmon that there is no clear partisan divide these ...

Making The World Safe For Billionaires
Demon Princess
2008-03-17 04:59:00

"The United States has already slipped into a deep recession that could be the most serious since World War II, said Martin Feldstein, president of the Cambridge group that is considered the official word on economic cycles. ...

Economic Breakdown: Another Great Depression
Left Turn
2008-03-20 15:28:00
After a generation of relentless media propaganda, which touted the infallibility of the capitalist market and the genius of Wall Streets financial wizards, the United States economy now stands on the very brink of an economic ...

A new Great Depression? It's different this time.
2008-03-21 16:13:00
The resolution drew a stark contrast with the Fed's role in the 1930 collapse of the Bank of the United States, a New York institution largely serving Jewish immigrants. The failure was then the largest in US history, and the Fed's ...

What Created This Monster?

Not only is the Federal Reserve's action unprecedented since the Great Depression — by lending money directly to major investment banks — but taxpayers are also now on the hook for billions of dollars in questionable trades these same bankers made when the good times were rolling.

“Bear Stearns has made it obvious that things have gone too far,” says Mr. Gross, who plans to use some of his cash to bargain-shop. “The investment community has morphed into something beyond banks and something beyond regulation. We call it the shadow banking system.”

It is the private trading of complex instruments that lurk in the financial shadows that worries regulators and Wall Street and that have created stresses in the broader economy. Economic downturns and panics have occurred before, of course. Few, however, have posed such a serious threat to the entire financial system that regulators have responded as if they were confronting a potential epidemic.

As Congress and Republican and Democratic presidential administrations pushed for financial deregulation over the last decade, the biggest banks and brokerage firms created a dizzying array of innovative products that experts now acknowledge are hard to understand and even harder to value.

On Wall Street, of course, what you don’t see can hurt you. In the past decade, there has been an explosion in complex derivative instruments, such as collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps, which were intended primarily to transfer risk.

These products are virtually hidden from investors, analysts and regulators, even though they have emerged as one of Wall Street’s most outsized profit engines. They don’t trade openly on public exchanges, and financial services firms disclose few details about them.

Used judiciously, derivatives can limit the damage from financial miscues and uncertainty, greasing the wheels of commerce. Used unwisely — when greed and the urge to gamble with borrowed money overtake sensible risk-taking — derivatives can become Wall Street’s version of nitroglycerin.


Doug Henwood: Real solution includes shifting spending to green and public infrastructure

International Herald Tribune: Profligacy is America's problem U.S. Consumer Credit Card Debt May Crash Economy,1,6243265.story

OVER Hauling? Or Consolidation of more power ? That Is The Question!

Treasury Dept. Seeks New U.S. Power to Keep Markets Stable

The Federal Reserve, which has been credited with creating the current housing bubble and bust just as it created the credit bubble of the Roaring Twenties and the bust of 1929, is now to be given vast new powers to oversee regulation of the banking industry and promote "financial market stability." At least, that is the gist of a Treasury Department proposal to be presented to Congress on Monday, March 30, 2008 . . . .

Advise Congress: The Treasury's Summary Of Regulatory Proposal Constitutes Treason
Advise Congress: The Treasury's Summary of Regulatory Proposal Constitutes Treason

The Bankrupting Of America
Do you believe President Bush's prediction that we'll be operating in the black by 2012? There's no way that's going to happen if his disastrous economic policies are continued and the Iraq war is allowed to drag on indefinitely. It's time for a reality check on the U.S. economy.